In a time when trust is at an all-time low, I’m thankful for Scouting

These days it’s hard to trust the driver in the next lane, the teenager swiping your credit card at the drive-thru or the stranger reading your Facebook and Twitter posts. So I’m grateful there’s at least one group of people you still can trust: Scouts.

If you don’t believe me that Americans trust one another less than they used to, just look at this Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in October (PDF link). It reveals Americans don’t much trust people when driving, shopping, dining out, traveling, hiring workers to come in their homes or posting on social media.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans trust people who swipe their credit card when making a purchase “just somewhat,” “not too much” or “not at all.” Just 30 percent of Americans trust other drivers on the road “a great deal” or “quite a bit.” And 78 percent of respondents said they trust people they meet when traveling “just somewhat,” “not too much” or “not at all.”

Those figures are enough to make anyone want to stay home, lock the doors and board up the windows.

But before you become a recluse, think of the millions of Scouts and Scouters out there. To me, Scouting represents one of our country’s last great hopes for stemming the tide of cynicism in America. After all, “trustworthy” is the first point in the Boy Scout Law, which Boy Scouts (and soon Cub Scouts and Venturers) memorize, recite and live by.  Continue reading


My Two Cents: Does the BSA offer too many merit badges?

Whenever a new merit badge comes out, a handful of well-meaning volunteers usually ask that question.

“If you’re adding Welding merit badge,” they write, “which one will you take away?”

For me, though, the beauty of the BSA’s merit badge program lies in its diverse selection. Too many choices? No such thing.

Walk into any bookstore, and consider the thousands of books on display. The store knows that no two readers are alike.

No two boys are the same, either. And the Boy Scouts of America understands that. Continue reading